August 14, 2013 at 9:19 am
If you are one of Thames Water’s 14 million customers, you could be in for a nasty surprise. The water company has asked Ofwat for permission to increase bills by £29 to help with the spiralling costs of the “super sewer” (or Thames Tideway Tunnel to give it its correct name) and to take account of the high level of bad debts arising because people are struggling to pay their utility bills.
If agreement is given to Thames Water’s proposals householders will see the increase in their bills next April, although the water company has asked Ofwat if the increase can be spread out over a number of years. The average water bill is currently £354, meaning that the proposed increase works out at around 8%.
Ofwat has said that it recognises the fact that householders are already finding their finances stretched because of the economic downturn and that the increases will only be allowed if they are “fully justified”.
Thames Water customers are already a disgruntled bunch. The water company made profits of £549 million last year, paid dividends of £231 million and boss Martin Baggs received a package worth £1.1 million. Meanwhile hard-up consumers saw their bills rise by 6.7% and many suffered the indignity of having their homes flooded by sewage.
Sadly for those in the Thames Water area there is no way of shopping around and changing supplier. One thing that can be done to reduce water bills, however, is to consider having a water meter installed. Generally speaking, if there are fewer people living in the house than there are bedrooms it will be advantageous to have a meter.